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Estonia’s oil shale industry is a traditional Estonian industry, founded during the First Republic. Local oil shale industry provided heat and light to Estonian households from 1924 onwards, and supplied household gas to Leningrad as well as Tallinn and other Northern Estonian towns.

The list of products made in Kohtla-Järve through decades is rich and varied – from shale oil to fine chemicals, epoxy resins to nitrogen fertilisers, hair dye components to bitumens.

Currently, the key products in VKG’s portfolio are various shale fuel oils and highly refined fine chemicals based on shale fuel oils. Traditional technologies are supplemented by new and efficient ones that allow extracting more useful components from oil shale while conserving the environment. During the early years of the industry, about 30-40% of the energy in oil shale was extracted; nowadays, we utilise over 80% of it.

The recent history of Viru Keemia Grupp dates back to the privatisation of RAS Kiviter in 1997. The former Kiviter has become a modern industrial enterprise with over 1 800 employees developing and advancing Estonia’s biggest industry.

Meie teekond

Eesti põlevkivitööstus saab alguse Esimese maailmasõja ajal puhkenud kütusekriisi tõttu

moodustatakse RAS Esimene Eesti Põlevkivitööstus

A trial oil factory with a capacity of 40 t/day opened in Kohtla-Järve

ehitatakse neli Kiviter õlivabrikut

Uue põlevkivitöötlemise kompleksi rajamine Kohtla-Järvel

Majapidamisgaasi pumpamine Leningradi ning Tallinna

1951 ja 1981
The construction of the 5th oil factory and the 1000-ton equipment ends

Toodetakse esimesed tonnid benseeni ja tolueeni

RAS Kiviter erastamine ja VKG asutamine

2009 … 2014 … 2015
Petroter I, II, III avamised

Ojamaa kaevandus hakkab tootma põlevkivi ning 31.01.2013 toimub kaevanduse pidulik avamine

Ainulaadse maapealse kaetud 12,5km konveieri käiku laskmine

2008 … 2014 … 2016
The first Estonian enterprise to deploy flue gas desulphurisation technology

All raw materials and waste products move in eco-friendly conveyor systems

Oil shale on postmarks and banknotes


For the 80th anniversary of the oil shale industry in Kohtla-Järve, Lembit Lõhmus designed a special stamp and envelope.

In 2016, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the industrial extraction of oil shale in Estonia. The enterprises in the industry released a commemorative stamp and envelope for the occasion.

The oil shale industry has been recognised on the national level multiple times throughout history. In 1930, the 100-kroon banknote featuring the first oil shale factory in Estonia in Kohtla-Järve, designed by G. Reindorff, was released.